The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 6/6/2016
Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
Date: June 6, 2016
Guest: Robby Mook, John Lapinski, David Corn, Lis Smith, Lanhee Chan, Rick
Wilson, Charlie Sykes, Liz Smith, David Corn
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: Right now, it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence
O`Donnell. Good evening, Lawrence.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Hey, Rachel, big news night –
MADDOW: Yes, indeed.
O`DONNELL: Thank you very much –
MADDOW: Thanks, my friend.
O`DONNELL: Well, as you`ve heard, Nbc News is projecting that Hillary
Clinton is the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.
At this hour, we are expecting Senator Bernie Sanders to speak in San
Francisco, if Senator Sanders has any reaction to tonight`s breaking news
on that projection, we will bring that to you.
Nbc News reports Hillary Clinton has secured 2,383 delegates, thanks to
pledges from more than a dozen delegates in addition to the 36 pledged
delegates from Sunday`s Democratic primary in Puerto Rico.
Hillary Clinton tweeted, “we`re flattered but we`ve got primaries to win in
California, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, New Jersey, South Dakota
Here`s what Hillary Clinton told supporters at a rally in Long Beach,
California, shortly after the projection was announced.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE, UNITED STATES: Historic,
unprecedented moment, but we still have work to do, don`t we?
CLINTON: We have six elections tomorrow and we`re going to fight hard for
every single vote, especially right here in California.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The Bernie Sanders campaign issued a statement saying, “it is
unfortunate that the media in a rush to judgment are ignoring the
Democratic National Committee`s clear statement that it is wrong to count
the votes of super delegates before they actually vote at the convention
Secretary Clinton does not have and will not have the requisite number of
pledged delegates to secure the nomination.
She will be dependent on super delegates who do not vote until July 25th
and who can change their minds between now and then.”
Joining us now, Nbc`s Kelly O`Donnell has been following the Democratic
race, present, she`s in Santa Monica this evening.
Kelly, any more word from the Clinton or Sanders` campaign about this
KELLY O`DONNELL, NBC NEWS: Well, Lawrence, there is a sense of
anticipation but the day is wrong, if you will.
Both campaigns knew that it was likely that this sort of a delegate math
would be done, but it is a bit of a surprise that it`s coming on the eve of
the primary and not perhaps on Tuesday night after for example, New
Jersey`s polls closing, even before voting here in California would be
And I was covering Bernie Sanders over the last several days here in
California, he had expressed concern that the media might do its own
calculation by contacting delegates, of course doing the math on voting
that is already taking place and making this kind of call.
For Hillary Clinton`s campaign, it is also a bit premature in terms of
their own messaging because Secretary Clinton has been wanting to drive up
as much as possible voter interests in turning out on Tuesday in order –
from her campaign`s perspective.
To sort of get a bigger win if in fact she is going to win California or
the other states involved, and wanting to show strength going into the Fall
And for the Sanders` campaign, there has been concern that any call for
Secretary Clinton might in fact encourage some voters, be there Clinton
voters or Sanders voters simply to not participate.
And so the campaigns have not really wanted to see this happen, even though
the math has been clear for some time.
Certainly Bernie Sanders has been making an argument vigorously to
reporters as we`ve been covering him, and to some degree to those
supporters who have been at some of his big events, that he wants to see
this process changed.
He was very careful to say it`s not a rigged process because he knew what
the rules were for the Democratic Party involving super delegates and how
the pledged delegates work as he entered this race.
But one campaign you can expect Bernie Sanders to keep going forward with
beyond his own candidacy is a fight to change the system for how nomination
process and the nominating process works in the future.
There`s been a lot of – sort of question about the role of super
delegates, so, expect him to continue to want to do that.
Of course, he`s also saying he will wage the fight to the convention to try
to challenge that.
And today, when I was with Secretary Clinton, one of her prominent
surrogates, the actor Tony Goldwyn spoke directly to Bernie Sanders
supporters urging them to come on board for unity, while we heard Secretary
Clinton saying to those supporters that she will try to unify the country,
and not only the party.
So, this is news that was in many ways expected, and yet a surprise for its
timing – Lawrence?
O`DONNELL: Kelly O`Donnell, thank you for joining us as the sun begins to
set on your camera position in Santa Monica. Thank you, Kelly.
Joining us now, David Corn, the Washington Bureau chief for “Mother Jones”
and an Msnbc political analyst, Eugene Robinson is with us, Pulitzer Prize-
winning opinion writer for the “Washington Post” and an Msnbc political
And John Lapinski, director of election for Nbc News. John, you made the
news tonight with this projection. Bernie Sanders says in his statement
that it`s a rush to judgment.
How did you make this judgment?
JOHN LAPINSKI, DIRECTOR OF ELECTION, NBC NEWS: It`s not a – certainly,
not a rush to judgment. I mean, how we did this, we essentially did the
We looked at the pledge delegates and the super delegates, and essentially,
it was a two-step process. Hillary, senator – I should say, Secretary
Clinton did very well in Puerto Rico.
She gained some more pledged delegates there and then we basically had a
number of super delegates essentially sort of decide to support her over
the last day.
O`DONNELL: Oh, so now – was this math or was this phone calls to super
LAPINSKI: Yes, so, let`s actually talk of the pledged delegates are
actually math in the sense that we actually – you know, there`s allocation
rules from the Democratic Party that we actually do this, and that`s what
we did in Puerto Rico last night.
On the pledged delegates, the way we sort of worked through that, there`s a
list of essentially 713 super delegates on the Democratic side.
And it`s an exhaustive process of essentially calling people and then some
instances seeing people that have made very public statements in newspapers
and other sorts of things, and sort of noting down that they have
essentially pledged their support either to Clinton or Sanders.
And we have been doing this from the beginning to essentially to – we`ll
continue to do it all the way to the convention to see if people actually
make their statements on who they`re going to support.
So, it is an interview process.
O`DONNELL: And that interview process took place today?
LAPINSKI: And the interview –
That there`s a last bunch of super delegates. And I mean, essentially what
we`re talking about. First of all, I should say that, when you actually
think about who did this makeup, we don`t actually think about the
campaigns when we do that to this – to delegate math.
And so, I don`t think actually, Clinton or Sanders are particularly happy
that we did this today, but we always knew we were going to do it when we
O`DONNELL: Did you know you were in a race with the “Ap”? The “Ap” broke
this about what? Twenty minutes before you? –
LAPINSKI: The “Ap”, you know, we knew that the “Ap” in a sense of we knew
that the “Ap” did Trump quickly. I mean, it`s one of the things that the
“Ap” really likes to do, they spent a lot of time and resources in doing
And so, you know, there`s always people want to sort of be timely in this
process and we knew that the “Ap” – I think, you know, given what they did
with Trump, that they probably – they wouldn`t want to do it.
But we did our own essentially calculations in the sense that the “Ap” did
it, and it took us a little bit of time to sort of re-look, see what we had
for supers and be able to sort of update our own delegate-count to put them
– put her over.
And if we were not able to do that, we wouldn`t have done it tonight.
O`DONNELL: So, will you release a complete accounting of the exact – the
names of the super delegates –
LAPINSKI: We do not, nobody releases – I mean, in some instances, some of
the people have actually – I should say it`s the political unit that is
actually doing the super delegate-count for us.
And so, they do have that, they do not release a complete listing of them
because some of the people have actually asked for anonymity.
O`DONNELL: And so, Eugene –
Sorry, voters, a secret poll of super delegates –
LAPINSKI: Where do we –
O`DONNELL: Will tell you before the biggest state in the union votes who
the nominee is.
EUGENE ROBINSON, COLUMNIST, WASHINGTON POST: What are we going to do all
night tomorrow? Actually, we`re going to cover California which is – which
is still very important.
I mean, look, the process in the Democratic Party has always been
undemocratic in the sense that you have these super delegates, they always
play a role.
They played a role in 2008, putting Barack Obama over the top, they have
just played a role in 2016, putting Hillary Clinton over the top.
And you can argue whether or not this is a fair thing. Why should – why
do you have super delegates? But they do have super delegates and that`s
how it works.
And as John said, it might be that neither campaign is terribly happy that
it happens tonight. I bet Senator Clinton is happier than Bernie Sanders
O`DONNELL: David Corn, has it ever happened before, have we ever declared
a nominee – prior to this year, have we ever declared a nominee not on an
DAVID CORN, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, MOTHER JONES: That`s a good question.
I mean, the Sanders –
O`DONNELL: And prior to – I mean, it happened with Trump, but prior to
that, we haven`t been able to –
CORN: Right –
O`DONNELL: Find this kind of exercise preempting in effect on election
CORN: Well, I mean, I don`t know when we – when they knew that John Kerry
had basically clinched the nomination back in 2004.
It`s an interesting process and it puts Bernie Sanders in a very difficult
position. Because he`s been talking about the world of people and
democracy with a small D and a political revolution.
And now, he says, his only path forward is to convince the super delegates
to basically overturn the election results by going with the person who won
less votes and acquired less delegates.
Now, certainly if anything happens in the next few weeks before the
convention, and with Hillary, I`m not going to even speculate on what
might, but it`s theoretically possible that something could go wrong.
That you know, the delegates have the ability than the super delegates to
change things in response to external circumstances.
But I don`t think Bernie Sanders` argument that you should do it because
you should do it is going to hold sway and it`s going to look like he`s
trying to overturn election results.
But that`s really all he has left now and, you know, and if he pushes this
too far, I think it could end up being a real sour note to a campaign
that`s been a marvel to watch and has done great, I think, work in terms of
advancing progressive causes.
O`DONNELL: And John, I have a question about the journalistic principles
involved in the release of these kinds of information.
What is the difference between this and releasing exit poll information at,
you know, say, 6:30 p.m. on a night when the polls close at 8:00 p.m.
LAPINSKY: Well, I mean, in a sense of, you know, first of all, like when
we really exit poll data, the exit poll data, the people that have actually
taken the polls are actually –
O`DONNELL: No, but this – there`s plenty of nice – well, we know the
winner. We know the winner by 5:30 p.m. as the conference – we all know
LAPINSKI: Sure –
O`DONNELL: We all refuse to disclose who that winner is on the
journalistic principle of the voter should be allowed to go to the polls –
LAPINSKI: A journalistic –
O`DONNELL: Without that information.
LAPINSKI: Sure –
O`DONNELL: How does this decision to do this, how is that a mirror or in
another sense, is it a violation of that principle?
LAPINSKY: Well, I think really, what it is is what we`re talking about.
It`s a threshold, right? Whoever was going to win the Democratic nominee
had to get to 2,383.
And so, what happens if Secretary Clinton had done a little bit better in a
couple of the earlier contests and had more pledged delegates, and then you
know, and – then on an election night –
O`DONNELL: And we understand –
We understand how you got there, we understand how you do exit polls. But
what about the notion – there`s – is the information that you possess
that you don`t release because of the principle that it should not be
released until the voters have spoken.
Why did that principle not apply in this case?
LAPINSKI: Because again, it was to get to 2,383 and we all knew along that
a pledged in the supers, you had to combine them together to get to 2,383,
and it was really – I should say that the journalistic principles are
The campaigns don`t actually determine when we`re going to call a
presumptive nominee. And so, we`re going to call when we actually hit this
It`s the delegate mount that`s actually at stake here. And so, you know,
if we had called it tomorrow night because of –
O`DONNELL: After the country had voted –
LAPINSKI: After New Jersey had voted, not after California had their polls
closed. We would have put her above the threshold and she would have, you
know, given that there was 126 delegates, and she was only being a handful
The only way that she wouldn`t have reached it with New Jersey is if she
had gotten less than 15 percent in New Jersey, which was not plausible.
O`DONNELL: So, we now think there`s no difference between calling it at
say 3:00 p.m. California time tomorrow or calling it before the polls open
tomorrow in California?
ROBINSON: Well, but call him what – I mean, it is a running tally. This
is a running tally. It`s not an exit poll, the exit poll is a sample, it`s
a survey basically of the – of the vote, and yet, almost always right.
And yes, so, we know, who won, but actually know who won until we got a bit
of a voting. And you know, I see this as a – as keeping a running tally.
And you and I – when you get to the end, right? When you get to 2,384, you
O`DONNELL: David Corn, do you have any hesitation about the news media`s
eagerness to get this kind of thing out there on the night before the
biggest state in the union votes?
CORN: Well, I wouldn`t say, I have hesitation. I really do wish that the
super delegates, you know, pledges loyalty was open.
And I understand the journalistic principle, God knows I do this every day
about keeping information confidential from people.
But given that they are participating in this very public event and they
are more or less public officials.
I mean, I can see the Bernie Sanders people fuming over, well, how do we
really know this is what they`re really going to do and how can their
affirmations to, you know, to Nbc News and “Ap” mean something if they
won`t put their name to it?
I understand all that, but this has become the common and acceptable
practice in covering elections. I mean, I – and maybe that`s something
that Bernie is going to fight for with the rules committee.
I don`t know how you go about doing that, but it would be nice to know, and
I`d like to know just as a journalist too, which super delegates indeed are
out there for Hillary.
And I`d like to talk to them and see if anybody might be persuadable by
O`DONNELL: David Corn, Eugene Robinson and John Lapinski, thank you all
for joining us –
CORN: Pleasure –
O`DONNELL: We are awaiting –
LAPINSKI: Thanks –
O`DONNELL: Bernie Sanders` remarks in San Francisco at this hour, we will
bring that to you. Still ahead, you will go into the Clinton war room in
the Sanders war room tonight.
How do they handle this breaking news tonight? How will it affect turnout
in California tomorrow, and how will it affect turnout on down-ballot
Very important senate race in California tomorrow that could be affected by
this. And Republicans agree with Hillary Clinton on Donald Trump`s latest
outburst of bigotry.
And later, a special last word about Bobby Kennedy`s last words the night
he won the California primary.
O`DONNELL: A new challenge for the campaign war rooms in California
tonight. How do you get your voters to turn out tomorrow when news reports
are telling them that their votes don`t matter.
And how does that affect the down-ballot races? And important senate race
in California has that problem tonight, that`s next in our war room.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: I need you to turn out tomorrow, get everybody you can to go vote
tomorrow. Make a very clear statement.
We are repudiating Donald Trump, we are getting ready for the Fall
election, we`re going to defeat him!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s war room, tonight the Clinton and Sanders
war rooms are reacting to reports from Nbc News and the “Ap” that Hillary
Clinton has reached the number of delegates required to become the
presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.
Hillary Clinton`s campaign wants voters in California, the biggest
Democratic delegate price, and five other states to go to the polls.
Tomorrow, Bernie Sanders campaign really wants the same thing, but how do
they get them to do that?
After this news tonight, Hillary Clinton tweeted tonight, “we`re flattered
“Ap”, but we`ve got primaries to win in California, Montana, New Mexico,
North Dakota, New Jersey and South Dakota vote tomorrow.”
With 155 days left for the campaign war room, joining us tonight in THE
LAST WORD war room are Lis Smith, a veteran of Martin O`Malley`s and
President Obama`s campaign war rooms.
And Lanhee Chen, a veteran of Mitt Romney`s and Marco Rubio`s campaign war
rooms. Lis, you`ve got – you`ve got chaos in the war rooms –
LIS SMITH, POLITICAL CONSULTANT: Yes –
O`DONNELL: At this very moment.
O`DONNELL: Hillary Clinton needs that turnout, she needs a win in
California. Bernie Sanders wants a win in California really badly.
And then, you`ve got the down ticket, and you`ve got this very important
senate race –
SMITH: Right –
O`DONNELL: With Pamela Harris(ph) and Lore Sanchez(ph), really important
race. There could be depressed turnout across the board on this.
SMITH: Right, well, I listened to your previous segment and I share some
of your – I don`t know if indignation is the right word, about the – how
this was called tonight.
And I think whether I`m in the Clinton war room or the Sanders war room,
I`m not thrilled with this to say the least.
I think if you`re in Clinton`s war room, you`re very concerned that it`s
going to depress turn out because people think, oh, she`s gotten the bag.
But there`s also the issue here that, it kind of takes the wind out of
ourselves. They were hoping to go out of this with a roar and not a
whimper and now, you know, this kind of steps on their announcement.
On the Sanders side, in some ways it could actually be helpful to him
because I think that his voters are very motivated and they`re very
motivated to go against what they believe is a rigged system.
And the Sanders campaign is smartly playing into that.
O`DONNELL: Lanhee, we saw the same thing happen. This is the way Donald
Trump got it. It wasn`t an election night, it was just people, you know,
started staring at the numbers and came in with their homework and said
hey, he`s got it.
And so, this is the year where it`s not the election nights, it`s all the
calculations that occur on these off nights.
LANHEE CHAN, FORMER POLICY DIRECTOR FOR MITT ROMNEY 2012 PRESIDENTIAL
CAMPAIGN: Yes, I know, that`s right. I think, you know, in the – tonight
in the Trump war room, I think they`re trying to figure out how to continue
to foment conflict between Sanders and Clinton.
And I`m sure that it will be Donald Trump arguing, you know, Bernie is
right, this whole thing is rigged, don`t believe it for a minute.
You know, but clearly on the Republican side, there was some of that
dynamic failure as well. Although, there, I think the counting was a
little bit more obvious because Trump had done so well in so many states
much of the (INAUDIBLE) of many Republicans including myself.
But look, Trump is going to continue to be the troublemaker here, that`s
what they`re trying to do.
O`DONNELL: And Lis, there`s no question that this was a better news night
for Hillary Clinton –
SMITH: Right –
O`DONNELL: Than it is –
SMITH: Right –
O`DONNELL: For Bernie Sanders. So – and but you know, we asked – we
invited both campaigns to send someone to talk about this.
Sanders campaign couldn`t provide anybody, Clinton campaign doesn`t have
anybody they can provide. And so, they`re going to – they`re going to
ride this out.
And basically, Bernie is going to speak in San Francisco tonight, he`s got
to find a way to tell people you still have to get out there.
SMITH: Right, yes, but this is the thing. I`m not surprised that they
can`t come because they`re in the war room –
O`DONNELL: Yes, that`s right –
SMITH: I mean, they`re going –
O`DONNELL: This is panic time –
SMITH: No one was expecting this race to be –
O`DONNELL: Right –
SMITH: Called tonight, right? –
O`DONNELL: Right –
SMITH: It was called an hour ago –
O`DONNELL: Yes –
SMITH: And I think everyone was pretty shocked when it was called. And in
the long run, you`re right, it is a good thing for Secretary Clinton
because a win is a win is a win.
But it is probably not the way that anyone wanted this to go out, and I do
think it does maybe add a little bit of a challenge for her to unify the
party after this because I do think that the Sanders folks will be a little
po`ed about how this went down.
O`DONNELL: I believe we have something Nina Turner said tonight at Bernie
Sanders rally just moments ago about this. Let`s listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NINA TURNER, FORMER UNITED STATES SENATOR: We will not relent. So, I`ve
got a news flash for some folks. We`re going all the way to the
But I`m going to say it one more again – say, one more again.
AUDIENCE: One more again!
TURNER: We`re going all the way to the convention!
We will fight on.
AUDIENCE: We will fight on!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Lanhee Chan, all the way to the convention. I guess there`s
really nothing else for the Sanders campaign to say tonight at least.
Bernie Sanders is already indicated he might have something else to say
tomorrow afternoon –
CHAN: Yes, look, Lawrence –
O`DONNELL: I`m sorry, the day after the election.
CHAN: Yes, I mean, this has been the core of the Bernie Sanders argument,
right? It`s not about one election, it`s about a movement.
It`s about an opportunity to move the Democratic Party in a more
progressive direction, at least what he believes is a more progressive
And so, there`s no reason to believe regardless of what “Nbc” or “Ap” or
any of the news organization are saying, that he`s going to change his
He`s going to continue to make the argument. Now, the reality is going to
catch up with him at some point, there`s no doubt about it.
But for now, to drive turnout particularly amongst those no party
preferences, independent voters where Sanders has been doing very well in
the polling, he`s got to continue the tone of saying, look, we`re defiant
about the system and we`re not going to take what the establishment gives
SMITH: But you know, yesterday he was saying, he was definitely ratcheting
it down and saying – today, saying, you know, let`s see what happens.
And now his campaign has ratcheted back up and because of the early calling
of this race. So, I think it`s thrown in a wrench I think –
O`DONNELL: Yes –
O`DONNELL: Lanhee Chan and Lis Smith, thank you both for joining us –
SMITH: Thank you –
O`DONNELL: Really appreciate it –
CHAN: Thank you –
O`DONNELL: Up next, Republicans attacking the Republican nominee. They
agree with Hillary Clinton about what Donald Trump has said about the
federal judge who is hearing his fraud case in California.
O`DONNELL: Here`s what Donald Trump said just four years ago and just
before we get into that, I just want to – that`s the Bernie Sanders rally
in San Francisco.
We`re waiting for Bernie Sanders to speak. There`s at least one other
person who`s going to be up on that podium before he is.
We will bring you what Bernie Sanders has to say when that`s possible.
Here`s what Donald Trump said just four years ago when he was explaining
why the man he endorsed for president, Mitt Romney lost.
Donald Trump said, he actually said this, “Republicans didn`t have anything
going for them with respect to Latinos and with respect to Asians.
He had a crazy policy of self-deportation which was maniacal. It sounded as
bad as it was and he lost all of the Latino vote. “
That was Donald Trump talking. In fact, Mitt Romney didn`t lose all of the
Latino vote. But, Donald Trump just might.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have a judge who is a hater of
Donald Trump, a hater. He is a hater. He name is Gonzalo Curiel and he is
not doing the right thing.
I`m getting railroaded by a legal system that, frankly, they should be
ashamed. The judge who happens to be, we believe, Mexican, which is great.
I think that`s fine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: As if that wasn`t bad enough, Donald Trump decided to expand the
list of judges who are unfit to judge him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN MALE: If it were a Muslim judge, would you also feel like they
wouldn`t be able to treat your fairly because of that policy of yours?
TRUMP: It is possible. Yes. Yes, that would be possible. Absolutely.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Here is just a short list of the Republicans, Senators,
Representatives, Former presidential candidates, Party Members, who have
condemned Donald Trump`s comments. Many are Trump supporters including
former speaker, Newt Gingrich, Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, and Senate
Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: This is one of the worst
mistakes Trump has made and I think it`s inexcusable. This judge was born
in Indiana. He is an American. Period.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: I don`t condone the comments. I think that
he`s going to have to change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: I couldn`t disagree more with
a statement like that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And Donald Trump supporter, Ben Carson, tweeted his disagreement
with his candidate.
Carson tweeted, “Every human being is an individual first rather than a
member of an identity group. The moment we forget that is the moment we
enter into a phase of moral descent.
And tonight, in an interview with Rachel Maddow, Hillary Clinton said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is dangerous nonsense
that undermines the rule of law, that makes him appear to be someone who
has no respect for fellow Americans. And I think it is yet more evidence
why this man is dangerous and divisive, and disqualified from being
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Do you think that Mr. Trump is a racist? Do you
think that he is running an overtly racist campaign for president?
CLINTON: Well I don`t know what`s in his heart, but I know what he is
saying. With respect to the judge, that`s a racist attack.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And so, on the issue that dominated the presidential campaign
this weekend, all of Donald Trump`s Republican supporters in Washington, so
far, agree with Hillary Clinton. We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN MALE: Got a statement this week on the judge that is a new level.
Because it`s not just, you know, ill-informed or ignorant statements, but
they suggest that when he`s president, you know, after November that
perhaps he ought to go after that judge. That is a whole new level and so
that is very disturbing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Rick Wilson from Venue(ph) of the website, Heat
Street, and a veteran of four, we talking presidential campaigns. And
Charlie Sykes, radio host on WTMJ AM Milwaukee and the Editor-in-Chief of
So Charlie, here you have a weekend where there is one big news story in
the campaign and just about every republican who has spoken about it is on
Hillary Clinton`s side of the issue.
CHARLIE SYKES, WTMJ RADIO HOST: Yes, it`s kind of amazing that nobody saw
this coming. That their acting like we`re shocked to find out that Donald
Trump is an erratic narcissist who says racist things, you know. Would have
been great if somebody tipped them off or warned them. Oh wait, they did.
RICK WILSON, GOP MEDIA HOST AND HEAT STREET WRITER: Weird Charlie. I mean,
maybe we were doing this a year and six months ago. Maybe we could have
helped stop this, but gosh, I guess somebody should have stood up.
O`DONNELL: Yes, I –
SYKES: Well this–this is the –
O`DONNELL: Go ahead, Charlie.
SYKES: Well this is the problem of trying to spread the needle with this
guy. They wanted to somehow had split the baby to mix the metaphors here
that we can support Donald Trump be President of the United States while
still distancing ourselves from these outrageous slurs and racist things he
says. Well it`s pretty hard to do. It`s pretty hard to acknowledge how
dangerous, how beyond the pale these comments are, and then still make
“Yes, but we still support him to be the President of the United States, to
sit at the desk that Abraham Lincoln once sat at.”
O`DONNELL: Charlie give us your analysis of how Paul Ryan has handled this
round. He said he disagrees with Trump. You cove his area up there in
Wisconsin. How is it playing there?
SYKES: While I`m trying to be sympathetic to Paul Ryan, because I
understand the pressures on him to eventually come around, but I think that
what happened last week was a mistake. I think that the timing was a
mistake. You know, Donald Trump has not shown that he was prepared to be
more mature, more presidential, more depivet(ph).
I wish that Paul Ryan would have gotten some sort of commitment, not that a
commitment from Donald Trump is worth anything. But unfortunately, you
know, I`m guessing that Paul Ryan is looking at this going, “What have I
gotten myself into?” You know, “What is the next five or six months going
to be like if every week there is the possibility that I`m going to have to
defend, revade(ph), or distance myself from this guy?”
And the reality is that there is no indication that Donald Trump is going
to change. This is the one thing that I think he is being honest about.
That he is not going to change, that what you see is what you get, and he`s
kind of rubbing up everybody`s face in it right now.
O`DONNELL: It seems like the timing for endorsing Donald Trump was never
going to be good. You were always 24, 48, hours away from one of this, Rick
Wilson. No matter when Paul Ryan shows or anyone else chooses to endorse
WILSON: You`re always one tweet away from disaster with Donald Trump.
You`re always one slip of the tongue, one malapropism away from disaster
with Trump. He could say something that could sink – if you`re–as I read
about yesterday if you`re a House Candidate in a Swing District or a Senate
Candidate in a purple state, right now you have to worry that every day
Donald Trump could torpedo your entire campaign.
You have to wake up in the morning and think, “What is the crazy person
going to tweet this morning? What is he going to say about Mexicans, or
Jews, or Asians, or whoever it is this week?”
WILSON: That Donald Trump decides he is angry at. And how are you going to
answer that. The real question here is not the schedule for endorsing
Trump, now the real question for a lot of these people is Trump is giving
them an out and every day is going to give them more, and more, and more of
But there will be a point where they have too much stink on them to wash it
off. So they have got to really think hard about when they break the chain
there and take the, you know, the one day of hate from Trump and his fans
to move on and run a more independent campaign and save their careers.
O`DONNELL: Lindsey Graham is going to a new level on this that we haven`t
heard before. He says, and it comes at the end of the quote, he says to the
New York Times, “This is the most un-American thing from a politician since
Joe McCarthy. If anybody was looking for an off-ramp, this is probably it.”
And here is the key line that I haven`t heard from anybody before. “There
will come a time when the love of country will trump hatred of Hillary.”
And Charlie Sykes, what we`ve been hearing a lot of is, you know, “I can`t
vote for Trump, I can`t vote for Hillary”. To hear Lindsey Graham saying it
could be, it could come to the moment where you have to pull a lever for
Hillary Clinton to save the country.
SYKES: Well I don`t know what Lindsey Graham`s going to do, but if you
start to see people like Lindsey Graham saying, “You know what, I am off
this Trump train.” You might actually begin to see it as cascading. I will
tell you that the level of jitters among republicans has–is really
starting to peak.
There is some serious buyer`s remorse. For the first time today, I actually
heard people begin to talk about, “Ok, at the convention, is it possible we
can draft somebody. Would there be some possible off-ramp there?”
I think that is highly unlikely, but the fact that this conversation is
taking place, giving you an indication that there is kind of an Uh-Oh
moment going on and people are realizing, “Look at the moment that we were
planning on all gathering around and having that big group hug, instead
what we have is we have the Donald Trump dumpster fire.”
If Hillary Clinton gets a big bump out of sealing this nomination, and it
looks like she is ahead by double digits, and Donald Trump continues to
behave this erratically I think you`re going to see more than few republics
begin to, at least privately, begin to talk about, “Do we have alternatives
O`DONNELL: The prosecuted–the judge that Donald Trump has been attacking
as a former federal prosecutor he had to have security protection when he
was going after the Mexican drug cartels. Surely stuff that Donald Trump
didn`t even know about him was a state judge before he was appointed to be
a federal judge and here is what former Californian governor, Arnold
Schwarzenegger, said about that judge.
He said, “Judge Curiel is an American hero who stood up to the Mexican
cartels. I was proud to appoint him when I was governor.” And Rick Wilson,
it goes to show you that no doubt Trump knew nothing about this judge`s
WILSON: Of course not.
O`DONNELL: Other than, you know, his most recent ruling that Trump didn`t
like in his fraud case.
WILSON: Right, of course Lawrence. Set aside the racism and set aside the
reflective intervention, attempting to intimidate a jurist like this, but
and–this is a guy who never knows anything about anything. He doesn`t
understand what the Nuclear Triad is, he doesn`t understand the economy, he
doesn`t understand trade, but he is certainly willing to pop off that mouth
of his at any moment and shoot from the lip on any issue.
And this in this case, he didn`t know the guy`s background and he still
hasn`t given it anything to demonstrate that there is some meaningful thing
in this judge`s record that would cause him to be a biased source or a
biased judge in this case because he doesn`t need that in his head. His
mental construct is not–does not work that way. You`re either with Trump
or you`re against Trump and the fact that this judge has ruled against him
opens the gates for all this racial animus to flow out
You know, from a guy whose so–lacks knowledge and confidence, I mean
Donald Trump couldn`t manage an Arby`s, much less this country. He knows
nothing and believes nothing except in his own aggrandizement and that`s
why he`s attacking this judge.
O`DONNELL: And Charlie Sykes –
O`DONNELL: Here we have the only presidential candidate in history who`s
facing coast to coast fraud charges from New York to California. This judge
is a judge in his fraud case so the more he wants to talk about this judge
the more he is talking about his own fraud case in California.
SYKES: Which is remarkable–
Because the reason we`re talking about this is because Donald Trump has
chosen to talk about this.
WILSON: Yes. Yes.
SYKES: And it brings more attention to this amazing scam. I mean, if you
want to have, you know, encapsulate why Donald Trump is a conman, you look
at the Trump–at Trump University, how he preyed upon the ambitions and the
hopes and the fears of average Americans and promised them all of this
great stuff when he was ripping them off.
It`s almost a perfect metaphor for his presidential campaign, but how –
O`DONNELL: Charlie, you`re right.
SYKES: – how disciplined does he have to be to actually be wanting to talk
about this as opposed to, boy, I mean, all of the other issues that you
could be talking about as a presidential candidate.
O`DONNELL: Charlie Sykes and Rick Wilson thank you both for joining us
tonight. Really appreciate it.
WILSON: Thanks Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: We`re monitoring the Bernie Sanders rally in San Francisco.
We`ll be right back.
O`DONNELL: We`re going to go live now to Bernie Sanders rally in San
Francisco where Senator Sanders has not made any comment about projects
tonight from the A.P and NBC News that Hillary Clinton has secured enough
delegates to be now considered the presumptive nominee for the democratic
presidential nomination. Let`s listen to Senator Sanders.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Stand up to
the fossil fuel industry.
Audience Chant: No more tracking(ph)! No more tracking(ph)! No more
tracking(ph)! No more tracking(ph)!
SANDERS: That is right. Cal Thien(ph), this campaign is going to win
because we are doing something really unusual in contemporary American
politics. We`re telling the truth.
The truth is not always pleasant. Not in our personal lives, or in our
political life, but unless we confront the truth we will never be able to
go forward in the way we have to.
Truth number one, the campaign finance system today is corrupt.
Billionaires, Corporate America, Wall Street, and their super packs are
undermining American democracy.
American democracy is not a complicated process, it is one person, one
vote. Not wealthy campaign contributors buying elections.
And that is why together we are going to overturn citizens united. And why
we are going to move to public funding of elections.
But it is not just a corrupt campaign finance system. It is a rigged
economy. Now you don`t see this discussed in the corporate media which is
another issue we have to deal with, but you don`t see this discussed, but
here is the truth. Right now, in America today, the top one-tenth of one
percent, not one percent, one-tenth of one percent now own almost as much
wealth as the bottom 90 percent.
The 20 wealthiest people in this country, 20 people, own more wealth than
the bottom half of America 150 million people.
O`DONNELL (voice-over): We`re going to take a break here. We`ll be right
SANDERS: We are seeing a proliferation –
SANDERS: – if there is a large voter turnout, if working people and young
people come out in big numbers to demand a government that represents all
of us and not just the one percent, we`re going to win big tomorrow.
And I should point out to all the democratic delegates going to
Philadelphia tomorrow, in every instance we beat Trump by far larger
margins that does Hillary Clinton.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Back with us, Liz Smith and David Corn. Liz, that`s always
Bernie`s strongest selling point. Is take a look at these polls in the one-
on-one matchups with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Against Trump, he
always does better.
LIZ SMITH: Yes, it is and I think that`s kind of the last gas for him, the
last thing that he`s holding on to with the delegate count being so, you
know, so much in Clinton`s favor. But I think what was interesting there
was how he did not address the A.P at all and it struck a very different
tone from his campaign which I think in some ways was kind of a smart move.
O`DONNELL: David Corn, it`s a tricky move for him because most people, if
not everybody, in that rally audience does–they`re not home watching Tv
right now. They don`t know this news. And so, he`s got a choice.
“Do I go out there in my big rally moment and say this thing that we fear
might depress turnout or do I let them discover it in their 11 p.m. news
tonight in L.A or in their morning news?”
DAVID CORN, CHIEF OF THE WASHINGTON BUREAU, MOTHER JONES: Well I`m sure a
lot of them are looking at Twitter so –
CORN: A fair number probably know. Most of them probably don`t care. They
knew this moment was coming whether tonight, tomorrow, and I`d just like to
talk this point about Bernie Sanders saying that he does better in the
November matchups in the polls with Donald Trump. And I`ve written about
this and gotten some flak from Bernie supporters for doing so.
I think that`s completely irrelevant at this point. You know, Bernie
Sanders has not been attacked with hundreds of millions of dollars of
campaign ads which would come if he was the nominee so you can`t really
look at his numbers.
Hillary Clinton`s been very light on him, no one`s made a big deal about
him being a socialist which is something that would come up were he the
nominee running in the fall. So it`s not an apples-to-apples comparison to
say he does better against Trump. It`s–there are other reasons he can make
an argument for perhaps, but that`s really a pretty thin read on which to
base continuing his campaign all the way to the convention and upsetting
the democratic party in that timeframe.
O`DONNELL: The interesting thing about this news tonight is that each
campaigns, Sanders and Clinton`s campaigns, they each have almost
identical, not quite identical, but almost identical incentives to not push
this news out there. Hillary Clinton doesn`t want to go out there and say,
“I`ve already won it.”
Because that`s saying to her, voters who might be stuck in traffic tomorrow
as the polls are closing, “They don`t need me.”
O`DONNELL: “I don`t have to go.”
SMITH: Yes, no, I mean, of course. That puts them both in a bad position.
But I, and going back to what I said before, I do think that plays more
into Sanders hand and his supporters` hand because they can run against the
Look, we all know how these races are called. The A.P calls it when there
is a certain threshold met, but to them it looks like there`s someone
pulling the strings behind the curtain and it does look a little unfair and
I think it motivates them.
O`DONNELL: Yes, David, it`s kind of the perfect story to stay in for the
Sanders narrative of things being rigged. The way this is being reported
tonight is through secret information obtained by the associated press and
obtained by NBC NEWS. Totally secret information that they have that they
are then telling you on the basis of that secret information, not on the
basis of your votes –
CORN: Right. Right.
O`DONNELL: And the basis of that secret information, Hillary Clinton is the
nominee. That`s perfect for the Bernie Sanders campaign to put right inside
its frame of its rigged.
CORN: Yes, you could strike up a conspiracy theory if you like that this
is, “Who knows what`s going on?”
I mean as a journalist, and we talked about this early on the show, I love
to see the delegates give their names out and who they`re standing–, you
know, who they are going to vote for, their declarations now, through which
NBC News and A.P are not doing because they`ve gotten this information
But this is indeed the way the system has worked the last couple of cycles
and in 2008, when we reached this sort of point in the campaign and Barack
Obama was ahead, Hillary Clinton had not pulled out yet and Bernie Sanders,
on the basis of what we thought the super delegate count was, endorsed
Barack Obama and basically said, “Let`s get on with with General and was
not calling for waiting until the convention and the super delegates` vote.
O`DONNELL: David Corn gets the last word tonight. Liz Smith and David Corn,
thank you both for joining us tonight.
CORN: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes continues our live coverage from Los Angeles next.
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